At the end of the second Leg of competition in Germany, Subaru's Stephane Sarrazin holds eighth place overall and leads the Subaru World Rally Team's challenge. The Frenchman moved up two places on the leaderboard during the day and set the ...
At the end of the second Leg of competition in Germany, Subaru's Stephane Sarrazin holds eighth place overall and leads the Subaru World Rally Team's challenge. The Frenchman moved up two places on the leaderboard during the day and set the third-fastest time on the Leg's final special stage.Chris Atkinson made steady progress through the notoriously difficult Baumholder stages to end the day tenth overall. After an encouraging performance on Leg one, Petter Solberg's Rallye Deutschland came to a premature end in the first stage today when an engine problem forced his retirement.
SS9: 0836hrs Bosenberg 1 (22.52km)
Crews set off from service in overcast but dry conditions to the
notorious Baumholder military area for Rally Germany's second Leg.
There was disappointment for the Subaru World Rally Team in the first
stage of the day when Petter Solberg stopped 11km from the start with
engine problems and retired from the rally. Chris Atkinson spun and
stalled midway through and lost 30secs, however team-mate Stephane
Sarrazin achieved his best stage finish of the event as he posted the
fourth fastest time behind Jan Kopecky, Dani Sordo and Sebastien Loeb.
Peugeot privateer Stefan Vojtech had an unusual accident after the stage
finish when he missed a pacenote and ended up in the trees after the time
control. The front end of his car was badly damaged and he retired from
Fastest Time: Kopecky (Skoda) 13:02.7
SS10: 0944hrs Panzerplatte 1 (30.66km)
Crews remained in the military zone for the second stage of the day.
Panzerplatte, or ‘tank range' in English, featured tight
roads lined with large concrete boulders known as Hinkelsteins.Although
the weather remained dry, the dust and sand dragged up by the tanks that
commonly use the roads made the surface exceptionally slippery. Matthew
Wilson had a spin midway through the pass and lost 20secs while Xavier
Pons hit a rock close to the finish and dropped from ninth to twelfth as
a result. Manfred Stohl reported a problem with the clutch and gearbox at
the end of the stage, however retained fifth position overall with a slim
1.8sec advantage over Mikko Hirvonen. Ford privateer Jari-Matti
Latvala's torrid weekend continued as negotiated the test without a
turbo when it broke on the road section to Panzerplatte. Dani Sordo took
the stage win and continued to close the gap to rally leader Loeb.
Subaru's Sarrazin was eighth quickest to move ahead of team-mate
Atkinson into eighth overall.
Fastest Time: Sordo (Citroen) 18:09.5
SS11: 1217hrs Erzweiler 1 (18.22km)
After a 30 minute service halt in Bostalsee the WRC field made its way
back to Baumholder for the 18km Erzweiler speed test. Mikko Hirvonen took
his first stage win of the rally, just 0.6secs quicker than team-mate
Gronholm. Hirvonen's scorching time was enough to move ahead of
Manfred Stohl into fifth overall as the Peugeot privateer struggled with
a tyre compound he felt too soft for the dry conditions.Matthew Wilson
glanced off a Hinkelstein to the left of the road close to the finish,
however sustained no major damage in the impact. Subaru's Sarrazin
and Atkinson finished the stage with the tenth and eleventh fastest times
Fastest Time: Hirvonen (Ford) 10:46.0
SS12: 1255hrs Panzerplatte 2 (30.66km)
The torrential storms that characterised the first Leg of the rally stayed away for the repeat of Panzerplatte. The stage nevertheless caused problems for several drivers, including Matthias Ekstrom, who lost almost five minutes with a broken shock absorber, and Hirvonen who drove over half the stage with a broken mousse inside the right tyre. Andreas Aigner went straight on at a junction, stalled and lost 30secs, while Gronholm ran into a field when he tried to avoid a rock in the middle of the road close to the start of the stage. The Finn nevertheless won the speed test and edged ahead of Toni Gardemeister into third overall. Anticipating wetter weather, Subaru's Stephane Sarrazin and Chris Atkinson struggled with a tyre that was unsuited to the dry conditions. Fastest Time: Gronholm (Ford) 18:03.5
SS13: 1528hrs Erzweiler 2 (18.22km)
After a second 30 minute service in Bostalsee most crews returned to the
Erzweiler stage east of the service park. Xavier Pons however retired
from the Leg in service with a hydraulic problem.Marcus Gronholm took his
second consecutive stage victory to pull out an 17.8secs advantage over
Gardemeister, with Hirvonen and Kopecky completing the top three stage
finishers. The Czech's time moved him ahead of Subaru driver
Atkinson into ninth overall. There were further problems for ex-DTM
champion Matthias Ekstrom as he negotiated the 18km stage with a broken
Fastest Time: Gronholm (Ford) 10:42.4
SS14: 1631hrs Bosenberg 2 (22.52km)
The repeat of the Bosenberg speed test concluded the proper rallying
stages of Leg two. In the closest result of the day, the top ten
finishers were separated by just 13secs, but it was Jan Kopecky who came
out on top to score his second win of the day.Subaru's Sarrazin and
Atkinson were fifth and sixth fastest.After the end of the stage crews
made their way to the pretty town of St Wendel for a blast through the
Fastest Time: Kopecky (Skoda) 12:45.0
SS15: 1719hrs OMVSS St Wendel (5.84km)
Loeb took his first stage win of the day through the wide loop that
included a section of motorway and some roads in an industrial
estate.Circuit racing ace Stephane Sarrazin was just 0.9secs slower than
Loeb, despite a brief stall, and finished the Leg in eighth, just 12secs
from seventh position. There were no changes in the top ten and Loeb
retained the overall lead from Sordo and Gronholm.
Fastest Time: Loeb (Citroen) 3:05.0
SUBARU WORLD RALLY TEAM SPORTING DIRECTOR, LUIS MOYA
"After such a big effort to get Petter to the start, retirement today was frustrating both for him and the team. Overall though, the performance he showed in the car has been very encouraging and we have every reason to feel confident about his chances on the forthcoming gravel rallies. Stephane was more competitive today than on Leg one. A safe tyre choice on the second loop of stages undoubtedly cost him some time but he ended the day well by setting the third fastest time. Chris has been learning more in the tricky conditions.He's come close to matching Stéphane's times this afternoon, which is a good result considering the limited amount of testing he's done."
"Today has been better than yesterday.I've had a trouble-free run and I'm here with the car in one piece. This morning we made a mistake with the tyre - we thought it would be wet but it was dry.In those circumstances it was difficult to push as hard as we wanted.But in the afternoon we had a more suitable tyre, increased the pace and set better times."
"Overall the day has been good.It's a shame we gave away some time on the first stage, when we didn't have such a good feeling in the car, but things improved steadily after that. The Baumholder stage was pretty tough, the surface was loose in places and it's hard to judge the grip levels - especially on slicks.Skating along the road in fifth gear, centimetres from those Hinkelsteins is not ideal! But on the last stage out in the fields (SS14) we did a pretty good time. Tomorrow we'll do what we can, I'm looking forward to the smoother roads of Leg three; they should suit us better."
"Things started well today, but without any warning, when we were flat out in sixth gear on SS9, the engine made some pretty bad noises, stopped and that was it. There are still some positives to take from this rally though. We have made some good improvements with the car and when we had the right tyre for the conditions we were quick. I think in general we have taken a good step forward over the summer.We're planning for Finland now.It's a rally that I like a lot and I think it will be a very interesting event this year."
News from Pirelli
MARIO ISOLA, PIRELLI COMPETIZIONI RALLY MANAGER
"Another terrible day in Germany and it seems that luck is against us. Petter was in good position with good chances when he had the engine problem, this was the first bad news of the day: then the weather proved to be decisive for the result of the rally, and this was a problem not only for us. In SS9, with the right tyres, Stephane was only 0.9 secs behind Loeb, showing a good performance. For the second half of the morning the weather forecast was more than 50% rain, so we fitted intermediate tyres but the stages were completely dry. In these conditions you can lose plenty of seconds very easily, as in the last part of the Leg where, with dry tarmac and sunny weather, we fitted the slicks and the drivers found some showers along their way."
A shortened final Leg as teams race to make it to Rally Finland on time.After the first and only service of the day crews will negotiate four stages, one of which is repeated, and a total of 68.19 competitive kilometres. The fast, flowing stages are located in the Saarland region south east of the host city, with the podium finish scheduled for 1224hrs in the centre of Trier.